In Mexico appetizers are called antojitos, or whimsies. Tila Hidalgo Leach, the owner of Tila’s in Houston, has drawn on her childhood in Mexico City to create a trio of these savory starters. The first two are classic street food—buttery roasted ears of corn and cool strips of cucumber and jícama, all sprinkled with salt and red chile powder. The third—hot-sweet quesadillas of melted Brie, pear, and minced jalapeño sandwiched between flour tortillas—is an original creation with continental roots. Offer them with margaritas and Mexican beer to keep your guests in a lighthearted mood while you’re putting the finishing touches on dinner. Tila’s Restaurant & Bar, 1111 South Shepherd Drive, Houston. (713) 522-7654

Try this recipe for Antojitos from Tila’s, Houston.